Jul 15, 2016

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Increased Volcanic Activity at Santiaguito, Pacaya, and Fuego Volcanoes

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City reminds U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Guatemala that volcanoes are unpredictable and dangerous, and the potential exists for violent eruptions without warning.  The three volcanoes in Guatemala, Santiaguito in the Department of Quetzaltenango, Fuego in the Department of Chimaltenango, and Pacaya in the Department of Escuintla are currently in an active eruptive phase.

Santiaguito:  This volcano is located approximately 7.5 miles southeast of the town of Quetzaltenango and 70 miles east of Guatemala City.  CONRED (Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres) and INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología), the Guatemalan government agencies responsible for monitoring volcanic activity, recommend all persons avoid a 5 km radius around the volcano.  CONRED has not issued any evacuation orders.  The volcano is currently in a highly active phase of eruptions.  Lava flows have increased and eruptions have been observed as recently as July 11, sending ashes 6,000 meters above sea level.  Winds could carry ash particles much further.

Pacaya: This volcano, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City and eight miles south of Antigua, is also experiencing increased seismic and geological activity.  The Government of Guatemala continues to place the cone of the volcano off-limits to guides and tourists.

Fuego: This volcano, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City and 11.5 miles southwest of Antigua, also continues to erupt with increased frequency.

The potential for destructive volcanic explosions in the vicinity of these three active volcanoes remains elevated.  The Pacaya volcano is a well-known tourist destination near Antigua and Guatemala City and licensed guides offer excursions to climb the volcano.  Always bear in mind that volcanoes are unpredictable.  Regularly check the official Guatemalan government websites below for updates on volcanic conditions, exercise caution and follow the instructions and recommendations of the licensed tour guides prior to visiting active volcanoes.

U.S. citizens should monitor local and international media reports and follow the instructions of local emergency officials, as conditions may change with little advance notice.  For updates on volcanic activity, monitor the CONRED website at:  http://conred.gob.gt/.  Guatemala’s tourism agency INGUAT also has additional information for travelers at: http://www.inguat.gob.gt/.

The U.S. Embassy will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter.  U.S. citizens should regularly monitor these sites and local media outlets for updates.

For further information:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, located at Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10, Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala, at +502-2326-4000, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +502-2331-2354.

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).


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